SAN ANTONIO – Six San Antonio-area school districts facing a digital divide were given donations totaling $500,000 to help students with e-learning.
The Toyota USA Foundation made the announcement on Thursday morning, saying 60,000 students will benefit from the money that will buy technology like Chromebooks and internet hotspots.
Somerset ISD received the largest chunk of the donation — $300,000 — and the rest was dispersed to Southside, East Central, Harlandale, South San and Southwest ISDs.
The districts surround the Toyota manufacturing plant south of San Antonio.
“We’re located in the heart of San Antonio’s South Side, and now more than ever, we have a responsibility as a community partner to play an integral role,” TMMTX president Kevin Voelkel said in a news release. “Access to education and the internet should be considered a basic right for students. Where you live and how much money you have should not determine whether you can participate and be successful at school.”
The foundation also unveiled an online education hub with virtual tours and lessons on STEM-based fields. Click here for more information.
San Antonio’s digital divide was thrust into the spotlight this year as parents had to choose between educating their kids at home or sending them back to class during the pandemic.
With students suddenly learning from home, schools deployed buses as internet hotspots and the AT&T Center offered free Wi-Fi on its property as a temporary aid.
The city’s school risk level is at “moderate” due to the virus, meaning the directive recommends in-person learning be prioritized for students with special needs or lack of internet access.
KSAT explains: Digital divide in San Antonio amid the pandemic